Living with a roommate can be a very fun, convenient experience—as long as you live with the right person. If you choose a bad roommate, you might inadvertently expose yourself to losses, either to yourself or to the property. The bad news is, in either case, your renters insurance might be of relatively little help. A roommate’s mistake might reflect badly on you, or worse, you might become a victim yourself. Here’s why.
It is important that if you choose to live with a roommate, that you both have insurance for your own liabilities and assets. However, the fact remains that a roommate is a liability, one which your insurer might be unwilling to cover. That’s why you should always choose the right roommate for your own needs.
Why Roommates Should Have Separate Insurance Policies
Theoretically, it is possible to insure both yourself and your roommate on the same renters insurance policy. However, that could create a variety of challenges.
- Both roommates will have to be listed on the lease to qualify for the same policy. However, most roommates must sign leases anyway.
- Policies will cover each person’s belongings under the same limits, even if some belong solely to your or solely to your roommate. Therefore, you might be forced to increase your policy limits to accommodate the higher value of two peoples’ belongings.
- If you have to file a claim on the renters policy, then the claim will automatically involve the roommate. Therefore, even if you claim only your belongings, the insurer might make the settlement out to both parties, and your roommate may have a right to ask for a portion of the settlement money.
- If a claim doesn’t involve you, it will still go on your insurance history. So, if your roommate causes damage to someone else’s property, and has to make a liability insurance claim for it, that claim might still appear on your own record. Therefore, you might face penalties, like higher premiums, even if you had nothing to do with a claim.
That’s why it’s usually easier for roommates to carry separate renters insurance policies. You have an advantage in this regard because a separate policy gives you more autonomy of your own insurance portfolio. There can be less confusion should claims arise. You can claim your own losses, while your roommate can claim theirs.
Your Policy Won’t Cover Roommate Theft or Damage to Your Assets
But, what happens if an accident pits one roommate against another? For example, what if your roommate damages one of your belongings? What if your pet bites them? What if they steal one of your belongings? If you have separate insurance policies, how will a claim work?
In some cases, you might be able to file a claim against your roommate’s renters liability insurance. For example, suppose that your roommate accidentally causes a fire, which damages a couch that belongs to you. You might have a right to file a claim against their liability policy for the damage costs. Therefore, the roommate might not have to worry about compensating you—their insurance can do so instead.
However, one case where renters insurance likely won’t your losses is if a roommate steals from you. Regardless of whether you have insured your belongings or not, insurers frequently exclude roommate theft. That’s because insurers often expect you to take responsibility for securing your property, and that means choosing a roommate who isn’t likely to steal from you. You also likely won’t be able to file against the roommate’s own renters insurance, as most renters insurance won’t cover intentional or illegal acts. Theft usually falls into both such categories.
That’s why you should be sure to always choose a roommate who you can trust and expect to take responsibility for their own security. It’s a big relief to know someone cares about a rental home as much as you do. Contact us for a Seffner renters insurance quote.